On the Shoulders of Giants

  • With Kate Measham
  • 21st, 28th January and 11th February, 10.00-12.00am
  • £45 for three classes, from various art gallery collections
  • This class will be via Zoom. You will be sent information about Zoom when you book your place for the lesson, and a link on the morning of the class.
  • A video will be available after the class.
  • If you are unable to be with us on the course you may purchase access to the video of the class for £15. Please contact us.


Although museums and galleries are closed to the public at the moment their catalogue of treasures are available at the click of a button. This is a wonderful opportunity to travel around time and space to look at some of the wonderful art of the world. You will build your work on the shoulders of giants.

You will be working towards a final piece, looking at colour, line, composition, narrative, perspective, and anything else that arises.

Don’t let yourself feel you know the direction you wish to take before you start the process.

Be prepared to explore, investigate and let the picture lead you in a new direction.


Thursday 21st January

Still Life with Apples and a Pot of Primroses ca. 1890

From the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York

Cézanne rarely painted flowering plants or fresh-cut bouquets, which were susceptible to wilting under his protracted gaze. He included potted plants only in three still lifes, two views of the conservatory at Jas de Bouffan, his family’s estate, and about a dozen exquisite watercolors made over the course of two decades (from about 1878 to 1906). Cézanne seems to have reserved this particular table, with its scalloped apron and distinctive bowed legs, for three of his finest still lifes of the 1890s. 

This painting was once owned by the ardent gardener Claude Monet.


Thursday 28th January

Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat 1887

From the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York

Van Gogh produced more than twenty self-portraits during his Parisian sojourn (1886–88). Short of funds but determined nevertheless to hone his skills as a figure painter, he became his own best sitter: “I purposely bought a good enough mirror to work from myself, for want of a model.” This picture, which shows the artist’s awareness of Neo-Impressionist technique and color theory, is one of several that are painted on the reverse of an earlier peasant study.


Thursday 11th February

Dance to the Music of Time

From the Wallace Collection, London

  • Although trained in Paris, the French painter Nicholas Poussin spent most of his career in Rome. This painting was created for a Roman patron, Giulio Rospigliosi, later Pope Clement IX. A circle of figures who symbolise the Seasons dance to the music played by Father Time on his lyre. Autumn, usually represented by a woman, is here represented as Bacchus, the god of wine. Two putti, one blowing bubbles and the other holding an hour glass, allude to the transience of human life; the double-headed herm, depicting the youthful and mature Bacchus, points its old head towards the dance, while its young head looks out of the composition to the future. In the sky, the sun god Apollo rides across the morning sky in his chariot, preceded by Aurora (dawn) and followed by the Hours.

    The exact meaning of the composition is not known. The subject originally derived from a passage in Les Dionysiaques by Claude Boitet de Frauville, which describes how, following the complaints of Jupiter and the Seasons, Jupiter gave Bacchus and his gift of wine to alleviate human suffering. However, the dancing figures came to be more gener ally associated with the perpetual cycle of the human condition itself: from poverty to labour to riches and then to pleasure, which, if indulged to excess, reverts to poverty. The painting remained in Rospigliosi’s Roman residence, where it was last recorded in 1713. It was later bought by Cardinal Fesch, uncle of Napoleon Bonaparte, from whose sale it was bought by the 4th Marquess of Hertford in 1845.

Materials

  • Please print out the photo for each class.
  • 5B pencil, charcoal, cartridge paper and drawing equipment
  • oil, pastels or acrylic (whatever media you are happiest using). Kate will work in pencil and charcoal for the drawings, then in oil paints throughout the sketches and final picture.